Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for October, 2015

SET UP

I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t catch on to something right away. Sometimes the same thing has to happen over and over again before I realize that there is help happening behind the scenes and that I’m supposed to pay attention. Recent blogs have mentioned this: CHAPLAINS — for example.

Okay, what am I rambling on about? We had closed up the camper for the season and I was sitting, waiting with my husband for his doctor’s appointment. To pass the time, I picked up an office magazine on arthritis. I found many of the articles to be interesting. One containing exercises I decided to copy on a scrap of paper in my purse. I thought the exercises would help my shoulder. The interesting thing about this task — I realized that my ability to write had improved. Ever since I fell injuring my right shoulder I have had trouble writing. Grabbing the pen, the motion of the arm as it writes — all where affected by the injury. My handwriting, although never something to brag about, had definitely suffered.

The next article that caught my attention concerned cooking — always a favorite subject of mine. The article didn’t contain recipes, if it did, I didn’t write them down. Instead it focused on steps to make cooking easier for those with arthritis. The step that caught my interest was their use of a crockpot. Advantages being one pan cooking, not having to lift many pots and pans on the stove. I have noticed that my energy is up in the morning and GONE by evening. Because of the injury to my shoulder, I have to pay more attention to the weight of the pan and the placement on the stove.

As always — the change of the seasons also causes a change in the meals that I make. I didn’t pay much attention to my e-mails while we were at the camper. We don’t have ready access to the internet, and I haven’t figured out how to connect my laptop at the WIFI sites. The last time I used my Ipad, I managed to erase ALL of my e-mails, so I was leery. We have a hot spot that I could have used but I left it for my husband and his ham radio.

I had so many things to do when we came home that I left the computer and emails sit. Of course the longer it sits the more e-mails come in so eventually I had to attack the mess. Now, most of them are junk — invitations to spend money or ?? I found a couple of recipes that caught my attention, made in the crockpot.

I didn’t write them down but having access to a printer at home, I printed a hard copy of the recipe. I tried one yesterday — it was a chicken stew that was a hit with my family, easy to prepare and it cooked while I was busy doing other things. I know that I have used the crockpot for beef stew, and pot roast. Having everything ready when I’m tired is an option that I will have to make better use of. The disadvantage — the fragrance in the rooms, all afternoon — LETS EAT!

NATCHUSA

I remember the first time I visited the prairie at Natchusa, paper pie plates guided the way. I don’t remember if I parked on the road or in the grass. It was a beautiful September day, warm and sunny. Standing on a hill I saw grasses waving in the breeze, taller than me. The view extended for miles. I don’t remember very much about the day except I went on a guided walk and had a GREAT time. I also don’t remember what year it was, only that I was much younger.

Natchusa has grown — regular printed signs guide the wanderer to the prairie. The festival is still held the 3rd Saturday of September. The day before, rain washed the landscape — thankfully Saturday was dry and sunny. Walking through the prairie after a rain when everything is wet was not something that I wanted to do. Now there are buffalo and tours were provided. One year vehicles took visitors out to various parts of the prairie — this year the emphasis was on the buffalo. They arrived in November of last year, and roam a 500 acre area north of the festival. The buffalo came from South Dakota, they are pure, their stock hasn’t been mixed with cattle.

My husband and I took turns standing in line to wait for the tour. It was time well spent. During the waiting time, I bought a pork sandwich for lunch. I don’t know if I was planning to sit down to eat it but when I stopped at a table to add BBQ sauce. I lost my footing and almost fell. I decided the best option was to sit and join the group at the table. Three photographers with huge professional cameras were enjoying their lunch. I had my camera, which takes GREAT pictures but is much lighter and easier for me to carry. When they left, three artists who were painting at the festival took their place. They each painted in a different medium: oil, acrylic and watercolor.

I stopped to not only admire their work but to investigate the easels they were using. I have painted in the open, on site at the Botanical Gardens. I remember well the task of getting my easel, paints, chair and painting to and from the site. I was painting in oil which doesn’t dry quickly. I only put in the background of the waterfall, planning to finish it at home. Carrying the WET painting to my car, I left my fingerprints on the canvas. They are still on the canvas — I decided to leave the painting as is and remember the day. Having an easier way to carry supplies might make it possible for me to paint on location again. I don’t know if I NEED another easel, or would use it. I haven’t actually painted in a few years but nudges have started again.

Before we left, I walked up a narrow trail into the prairie. Camera in hand I searched my memory trying to remember names of plants that I used to know. Thankfully, many had signs naming the plant. I would have loved to walk further and explore but even though I was wearing jeans, my shoes weren’t the best.

We will just have to return!

STRETCHING TIME

Returning home, after watching our grandchildren while parents investigated Boston, I saw the light flashing on our answering machine. Sad news, a friend had had a stroke, but was recovering. We were only back in town for a couple of days and I wanted to put visiting her on my to-do list. When I phoned her, she hadn’t understood who I was, so I phoned her son. Not only did I learn her condition, but was advised the best time to stop in to see her and how to get to the hospital. He said the best time was 1:00, after her lunch but before her physical therapy at 1:30.

I left the house at 11:00, planning on stopping at the bank, Target, visit Sally, proceed to Costco, then Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s, and Pet Supplies in that order. (Just looking at this list makes me tired. What was I thinking?)

After the bank, I went to Target — they didn’t have what I needed. It was only 11:30, too early to visit. I back tracked and stopped at Trader Joe’s, and Pet Supplies. Noon, I headed for the hospital, arriving at 12:30 — still too early, I didn’t want to interrupt lunch. I headed for Wal-Mart. (They had what I needed.)

It was 1:00 PM when I pulled into the parking lot at the hospital. Sally, who was registered as Sarah, was reading when I entered her room. At 93 years young, she not only looked fantastic, but sounded great. Her words were clear, not slurred, all syllables present and accounted for. She was very fortunate — when her daughter phoned, she heard a slight slurring in her speech and phoned the front desk of her retirement building. Discovery and treatment were within the 24 hour window.

I didn’t stay long, leaving before 1:30 but I was so glad that I was able to visit.

I didn’t have to watch the time anymore, which was a good thing. The day before I had ordered my husband’s prescription on line. The website doesn’t provide the name of the medicine ordered. Late that night, we received a phone call informing me that his prescription could not be ordered for another two weeks. That is when I learned that I ordered the WRONG medicine. Thankfully the pharmacist was able to change the order. I also wanted to upload the pictures off my camera. Should I mention that I had problems. No surprise — problems led to a conversation with the photo personnel. I mentioned that our youngest daughter treated my husband and I to a performance of the Celtic Women for my birthday — the show lasted for three hours. They had seen a performance in Chicago which had only lasted for around an hour. Then I told them that we had been in nose bleed area, seat gg508, and mentioned the significance — “gg” standing for great grandmother. They thought it was a great name for me.

Photos and medicine in hand I wandered to finish my shopping — adding Jewel to the list. And I didn’t have to wonder why I was tired.

PESTERED TO WRITE

Since I don’t see, nor hear my friends in high places, you might ask how I’m pestered to write. As time has passed since my father passed over, I’ve learned that many things are possible on the other side. For instance: I’ve learned that they can mess with electronics: telephones, computers, TV’s, lights just to name a few. My father didn’t know anything about computers when he passed over, although they were in existence, his memory was already affected by Alzheimer’s which didn’t allow him to learn how to use them. Now I can’t say for sure who it is that helps me with my writing — I would say “Dad” but it could just as easily be my mother, brother or ??

Writing To Pap with Love, I had PROBLEMS. Sentences disappeared, computer stuck, printer stopped — it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was receiving “help”. Once a skill is learned, it continues to be used. If what I’ve written in my thought ramble shouldn’t be shared — the ramble sticks, won’t be saved until I either fix what is causing the problem OR discard the thought. Sometimes the font changes — all of a sudden everything is in caps, or there are spacing problems or ?? I’ll leave more examples to your imagination.

But that doesn’t explain how I’m pestered to write. Just as I’ve learned that my thought ramble is incomplete or shouldn’t be shared, I’ve learned to recognize the signs that I NEED to write. Sometimes the first inkling comes from the bible: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. before you were born I dedicated you.”
Maybe I’ll open the bible to Isaiah 42: The Servant of the Lord. Since I start the day with a random reading from the bible, the choice is endless. Recently I opened to the empty space at the ending of the Old Testament.

The message might try to get through in other ways — at church — a song “Who shall I send?” Its not like I’m looking for a message or guidance, I turn on the radio and a song gets my attention, a TV program or even a commercial.

If I’m not inspired to write, but a theme has been given to me and I’m not taking the time to explore it — I’ll have trouble sleeping. I wake in the middle of the night, realize that I’m writing in my head and be unable to go back to sleep.

I REALLY DON’T LIKE being hit on the head! I try very hard to be open to messages to avoid that. Now I don’t know if I have anything really to say, but as long as writing seems to be my JOB, I’ll keep trying to put words on paper.

Coming back from the retreat, while walking Robin, I saw two neighbors who I hadn’t seen in a long time. The first one is experiencing leg circulation problems which has restricted his ability to get out and about.
Since I last saw him he had to put his Lab down because of cancer. The same afternoon I met another neighbor who had to have a kidney removed because of cancer. Of course I shared stories with each.

Back home again — at the grocery store, I met a woman from church who has had challenges of her own. I forget how many times in the last year she has been hospitalized but it was a lot. Walking home, another person waited for me to catch up to her so we could talk. I usually pay attention when three things occur but lately I’m paying attention to two, especially when they occur back to back.

DEEPLY ROOTED

DEEPLY ROOTED

My youngest daughter invited me to go to a woman’s retreat held in Lake Geneva. This was the name of the retreat and no surprise — it really reflects my life.

The day after I arrived home, I thought about how deeply rooted I am in many things. How often this summer I have used the expression “my roots go deep.” Specifically about our time at Woodhaven and our intention to rebuild after the destruction of the tornado on 6/22/15 — we have camped there more than 40 years.

I spent some time thinking about where I’m deeply rooted and the first idea that came to mind was that I’m DEEPLY ROOTED in GOD! I wondered when that root first began and realized that a portion of it is inherited — the Swedish part of my family is Christian. In order to marry my mother, my father converted to Catholicism and I have attended religious schools throughout my life.

Surviving the fire, I must have felt that God had a plan for me — I was still here. Growing up I don’t remember having a firm belief — so I questioned when I first noticed that my roots had grown. That lead me to the Fall Festival at Woodhaven when I was instrumental in saving the life of my neighbor. (Full story is in my book Journey with Me.) Returning to the camper on my scooter I looked at the time line of the day and realized that I was at the right place at the right time to be of assistance and I was HONORED. Life might have been different if I was upset at being used. I might not have noticed the time line — but I did!

Fast forward a few years — Christ Renews His Church — I attended a weekend in March and was involved in hosting a new weekend in October. I wanted to give a personal card to the women attending. My plan was to draw a scene on paper, using colored pencils. I needed a scripture to be on the front page. I brought a stack of books to the camper and planned to find something. I DIDN’T NEED THEM! On my morning three mile walk — walking past Sunset Lake — this phrase surfaced in my mind. LORD, AS LONG AS YOU ARE WITH ME — I’M NOT ALONE. What better saying than that to put on a card? What a GIFT!

Fast forward again, walking down a main street near our home, I felt my feet root into the ground. We had been discussing putting our house up for sale and moving. Feeling my feet root was a new experience for me — I get hit on the head but that is the extent of it. I realized that I had been giving direction — stay, don’t move. I knew that wouldn’t make my husband happy.

DEEPLY ROOTED — in God, my family, friends, our house and neighborhood, Woodhaven. I guess I am!

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